Oct 312013

We bought a new camera 🙂

Happy Halloween!


Nettie was always a hanger-on of no account.. until the day Dracula turned her into one of his Undead Brides, apprenticing her in the ways of Streaky White Makeup and Posing In Front Of Bats.


Lucas was always such an erudite social climber; after his hunting accident, however, he found his tongue thick and clumsy, and a strange temptation to howl at the moon…


Bob got shot. He doesn’t care much for cereal, even in the afterlife.

Some outtakes from the photoshoot:

Oct 262013

After a through scouring of my room, the apartment, Yamiko’s car and all of our luggage (three times each), I finally have to admit defeat. I lost the camera somewhere between the Pandoracon parking lot Sunday afternoon and getting home. My best theory is that it got left at Buffalo Wild Wings (our traditional post-con lunch before we get on the road to return home).  Obviously, this not only puts me in the doghouse for loosing Yamiko’s camera, it means we I don’t have any photos to put up of the Con. Yeah, pretty stellar move there on my part. My apologies to everyone, mostly Yamiko and Firedrake. I’m thinking I should try to get into the habit of saving photos to my netbook every night during a con and actually using the camera bag Yamiko got the week before this Con.

 Posted by at 10:53 am
Oct 252013

Last Weekend  October 11-13, we were at Pandoracon! Unfortunately, due to poor planning, we couldn’t charge the camera, so we only got a few pictures (coming later from Kae). The theme was Labyrinth, as in the movie with David Bowie, so the decor was awesome and inventive.

Friday, due to traffic and work schedules, we didn’t arrive until almost 11pm, so we didn’t get to partake of much. Which sucks, because it means we missed the opening ceremonies we were aiming for AND the Hemingway Happy Hour afterward, so we ended up just going to bed.

Saturday was my Nettie debut~! I wore the first costume, which I ended up liking better than the second one thanks to the lack of corseting issues. I had trouble over the weekend with how my under-corset sat on my torso, I think I need to revisit how I lace it, but other than that I didn’t have too much trouble until I tried to get into the car. Protip: the flexible hoop in the hoop skirt means I can fit into the car if I don’t mind squishing the skirt in unusual and almost indecent ways. It all sorted out when I got out again, but it was kind of annoying on the drives to and from the con.

When we arrived, after I dropped my books off in the Author Program bookstore, we ended up playing some Pathfinder (more about that on Radiant Gaming soon). I dropped out to go to a book signing, then we broke for lunch. Honestly, there just wasn’t much going on in the way of panels we wanted to attend. Sure, there were Doctor Who panels practically every hour, but since we haven’t been able to stream the second half of the latest season, we didn’t want to necessarily go to every single one. I would have liked to see Makeup for the Steampunk Lady, but that’s when my book signing time was. We did go to the Costume Crafts panel, where I learned some about hatmaking I’ll probably put to use in the coming months. I did an author reading at the 10pm session, then we went to bed.

Sunday was even scarcer for things to do. We browsed the dealer’s room for a bit, then settled in and played the new Star Wars tabletop game until the end of the day, when we went home.

The dealer’s room was pretty nice though. We ended up buying a few more prints from Kiniska’s Circus (Chaos seeks her out at every con we go to), and Kae bought a few books while I got some pretty makeup. We also picked up some costume pieces for Laika, Isaac, and Bob, which we’ll surely be talking about in the next few weeks. All in all, it was a pretty quiet, laid-back end to the convention season. I’m told we’d have had more to do if we really got into the House rivalry aspect, as there were various games and so forth to win points for your house, but since it was our first Pandoracon, we didn’t partake.

Oct 202013

Hello everyone, and welcome to For The First Time Winter on Radiant Vanguard.

Winter is an interesting time. Because there are no conventions we plan to attend until Spring, it’s generally a season of reflection and building and preparing rather than doing. Since it’s cold out and nobody wants to go out into the rain/snow/hail/sleet/what have you, a lot more indoor crafts get done. On the other hand, there’s the holidays: Nano, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter. These things take away from costuming time, of course. And it’s often easy to say, “I have until April, I’ll do it next weekend” until suddenly it’s March and nothing gets done.

What does this mean for the blog? More reflective posts, interspersed with building posts and WIPs and planning. We’ll still be attending some events with the Cleveland Zeppelin Union, which Kae will be covering, and we may be able to do some video posts and so forth, but don’t be surprised if some weeks there’s just not much going on.

Because of the slowdown, we’re accepting submissions for guest posts. We’re also open to any and all suggestions as to what you’d like to see more of. Video posts? Photos? Heart-to-heart chats about underwear? Problems we’re struggling with? A regular mailbag feature? Let us know in the comments.

Oct 132013

We’re at Pandoracon this weekend! I’ve tweaked Nettie’s outfit a little at the last minute; you’ll have to wait until the con photos go up to see the final versions I’m afraid, but here’s a handful of tweaks I did:

Hoop skirt

Remember how in the undergarment article  the white petticoat stuck out a bit under the black skirt? I’ve replaced it with a hoop skirt, which has the advantages of being cooler and being seen less due to less layers. It’s adjustable, too, which is nice. Hopefully that works out for me.

Oversized corset

I bought the next size down. It borders on too small and still wrinkles and bends and conforms to the bulges in my body too well to look right. I’ll stitch a modesty panel in it and wear it over the other one, or possibly the larger one over the white one as before. I won’t be buying from Corset Chick again 🙁


I had meant to get garters and a garter belt, but unfortunately I’ve run out of time. I’ve bought some nice lacy hose instead, though it’s going to be tricky to wear — I’m going to have to roll the top down pretty far so it isn’t under the corset so I can pee 😐 For future reference, ALWAYS consider peeing before you get into a costume you plan to wear more than a few hours. ALWAYS. At my wedding reception I had to have my mother guard the stall while I hiked my dress and petticoat up to almost my boobs, and I was scared the whole time I’d get something damp 😐

Calling Card

I had one printed up! And this time, unlike Erika’s, it’s the proper dimensions I wanted. Yay!


Calling card front (I’m sure photos of the actual card will be coming soon)

So that’s basically the changes I made! Back next week with more costuming updates in general. 🙂

Oct 062013

I have achieved the previously unthinkable: I have purchased a corset that is too LARGE for me.

I know, right?!

A replacement is on its way, may or may not arrive before the convention though. In the meantime, the colors are perfect and I’m very pleased with how well the corset matches the skirt, so I’m holding out hope for the outfit 🙂 In the meantime, this post is sponsored by Rap Is A Man’s Soul:

Nah, just kidding. It’s actually sponsored by Chicago The Musical:

Okay, I know, I know, you just want the pictures right? Well, without further ado:

I did take a few photos with my real corset underneath, in case that helped. It didn’t, much; this corset shows too much of the white underneath.


I’m tired of corset shenanigans, but at least the dip is gone.


I’d braided my hair from boredom, and now I felt like Alice, so a curtsy it is.


Unfortunately, the lack of modesty panel makes the back look bizarre.

What do you think? Chic, no?


Oct 012013


I really thought by the time I started this, I’d have something to say about canes that didn’t come off as weird. I blame my inability to take topics seriously for long periods of time. Makes you wonder why I’m the one playing the amoral business man and not something more whimsical. Mostly my build…that and I like the character.

Speaking of the character, Lucas is the type that is worried most about his public perception. This is different than his image in that not everything that he wants the public to perceive is true. He would have them believe the gentlemanly, sportsmanlike, smiling face that they see at high profile galas and balls was the real him, while making sure his competitors knew he was a shrewd businessman with a particularly good public face. To this end, he keeps himself up to date on the latest trends and fashions, including cane fashion.

When we were first coming up with Lucas’s costume, I didn’t really think about a cane. In my mind, Lucas would think that canes were a show of weakness. How could you be a man unto yourself if you couldn’t stand under your own power? Then I really started running out of ideas for props for the character, and I started looking into things I could do with a cane prop, so I started thinking of a way to incorporate one without taking away from the character concept.

Here’s the deal, though. Usually when I think ‘cane’ all I get for a mental image is a long piece of wood with stuff on the part you hold sometimes. I know that’s not all that goes into a cane, but it seems like a minor thing from a purely design standpoint. Not only would I need to get around the ‘painted hunk of wood’ idea, but I’d have to make it something practical. Something that gave the feel of ‘I understand that this is a fashion accessory, but that doesn’t mean it should be useless.’ What I really needed was an idea.

So, like any good researcher, I immediately started looking at everyone else’s ideas. I also rapidly came to the conclusion that canes all look like supervillians would use them. Take this one for instance:

From Dark Knight Armory

Points for being able to store your alcohol in it, but the skull’s not what I’m looking for. Actually, there are quite a few canes that store alcohol. I get the novelty, but you’d think most people would just have hip flasks. What was I talking about again? Right! Canes for Lucas. He wouldn’t be caught dead with something as gaudy as a skull cane and even less so if it was used to hold alcohol. Not that he doesn’t drink, just that he wouldn’t need to carry his alcohol around with him like that. Maybe something with a bit more utility than that?

Image from Squidoo.com

I’ll admit, I mostly like this for a captain on a ship or an adventurer. Someone that would get some use out of both a cane and a spyglass and might have their hands occupied, and while it’s practical in some aspects, it’s nothing that Lucas would use. He has people to drive his airships and deal with unsavory characters for him. Although, he wouldn’t want to be defenseless…maybe something like this would be more his pace:

Image from Medievalcollectables.com

This cane actually has moving bits! You can pull the hammer back and pull the trigger and it’s just REALLY cool…and while I’d love to make something like that, it’s still not quite right. It lacks a level of subtle for the character to carry around. Though I may end up using it for another character that I’ll be making props for later. Now, I’m sure everyone is probably asking me “Well, why not a sword cane?” Well, for one, it would look like a regular cane at a convention since they’d have to be peace-bonded. Second…well, it just doesn’t seem quite right. Sure, sword-fighting was thought to be an elegant combat sport for those with a quick mind and quicker reflexes but it lacks the sort of style I’d want the character to have. So maybe I leave that idea alone and start looking at simpler designs again. Less is sometimes more after all:

Image from borispalatnik.com

Now this…this could work. While it lacks the utility of cane-with-thing-inside designs, I like the overall simplistic design along with the animal head looks pretty classy. I might actually get this as a backup cane in case something with the prop I want to make goes south. The animal head is still a little…blatantly evil-looking, but I don’t think I can get around that with canes. I mean, some of the coolest designs look like this:

Image from Medievalcollectibles.com

That’s right, it’s a metallic dragon head staff. Unfortunately, that has the same ‘evil’ problem. I mean, it looks like the person walking around with that will either summon demons at the drop of a hat or wants to show you his latest slow-moving death trap and while Lucas isn’t exactly nice he would put himself above that sort of thing. While nice, this design’s still going too far.

Okay, I think there’s enough examples that I know what I’d like to do. Ideally, I’d want to make some sort of weapon cane, but for it to be subtle, I’d probably have to make that myself from scratch. In the short run, I think I’ll go with a simpler design with metal finish for the head. It still looks classy without being too plain and if I can find a design that meshes well with the character.  For those of you interested in seeing some more examples as well as tutorials for making your own canes, please look at the links below:

http://www.instructables.com/id/Walking-Cane-Steampunk-Fashion/ (This one is pretty cool looking and seems easy to make)

http://thesteamemporium.com/maets-gallery/artifacts-wearable/canes-walking-sticks (lots of different cane head styles. Definitely going to try some of them later)

http://www.fashionablecanes.com/Gadget_Walking_Canes.html (I really used to think it was just swords that people put in canes)

I’ll be keeping you guys informed on what I actually build based on the stuff I was looking through, as well as if I come up with anything original (Which I really hope I do. I had one idea but it’d require some materials and tools I don’t have access to yet. All the more reason to get new things, right? 🙂 ) but for now, I’ll leave it here. If you have any of your own ideas or just wanna talk about canes as props, please go ahead and comment below. I promise we don’t bite in any way that leaves lasting marks.